2022 Toyota Tundra First Drive Test

Silky powertrain: Toyota has done a fantastic job with the Tundra’s all-new powertrain, which pairs a 389-horsepower, 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s notably more horsepower than the base engines from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Ram, not to mention a few more horsepower and a lot more torque than the V8 coming out of the Tundra. (The Nissan Titan comes equipped with a 400 hp V8.) It’s a winning combination, thanks to the rich engine power available in any gear and at any rpm. In addition, the transmission produces almost imperceptible gear changes that are smoother than in many luxury cars. There’s tons of low-end torque (479 lb-ft, to be exact), and we love that you can hear the turbochargers hiss and whistle as they go about their business. Toyota did a good job tuning the engine and exhaust sound; they stay in the background during steady, easy driving, but put your right foot in the gas pedal and the engine wakes up with a robust rumble which we rather enjoyed.

User-friendly infotainment screen: The 2022 Tundra is the first application of Toyota’s all-new infotainment system. The touchscreen is available as standard 8 inch and optionally 14 inch. The 1794 Premium Edition finish we rented had the latter, and we found that the giant screen was designed for large text that was easy to decipher (almost comically large, in fact), and we enjoyed the bar. easy to use menu on the left side of the screen. We like that Toyota didn’t go too far with cutting edge technology, however. There are still large buttons and many physical buttons and toggle switches; sit in the truck for about 30 seconds and you’ll have pretty much it all figured out. We also like that the Tundra comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless compatibility.

Traditional speed selector: We appreciate that Toyota is offering Tundra buyers a traditional gear selector with an intuitive PRND layout, including the ability to manually change the drivetrain by moving the lever to the left on the center console. This makes it easy to downshift to a lower gear whenever you want, for example to use the engine brake to help slow the Tundra down on a long downhill.

Rather impressive fit and finish: We found a lot to like about the Tundra’s cabin, although it’s worth noting that the 1794 edition we drove is the top-of-the-line model. It’s filled with supple leather, lots of contrast stitching, real wood trim on the doors, dashboard and center console, and there’s a huge padded and stitched section of the dash in front of the passenger. The Tundra even has padded window sills, not just in the front, but also in the back. We said ‘mostly’ impressive, though, because while many areas of the cabin are aesthetically pleasing, the wood trim, for example, feels like plastic, and the fake air vents are aluminum. also seem a bit cheap on our manufacturing pre-sample.

Ride quality: Among the many advancements Toyota has made with the new truck, one of the most significant changes is the move to a multi-link rear suspension with coil springs, replacing the leaf springs used on most full-size pickup trucks. As we have seen with the Ram 1500, this can significantly improve the quality of the ride. The 1794 Tundra we rented from Toyota also came with the optional Advanced Package Package, which includes adaptive shocks and load-leveling rear air suspension. This combo is made for one of the most composed full-size trucks we’ve driven, with less rebound that trucks with leaf springs are known for. Although it was a smooth hauler on the highway and on most back roads, it still had a wobble and thrill in the rear on more rugged back roads with repetitive road imperfections.

Well-matched driving position: As with most full-size pickups, the Tundra has a roomy driving position, with good adjustment between the seat and the steering wheel, as well as well-placed and well-padded armrests. Even though the center console is quite wide, it does not encroach on the driver’s right knee space. And unlike the Ram 1500, the Tundra has a usable left footrest, which improves comfort on long journeys.

Comfortable seats: Our drivers found the Tundra’s wide and supportive front seats to be very comfortable. They have just enough of a defined pocket with some side support to keep occupants in place at the corners. The rear seat of the crew cabin we rented is also comfortable and offers plenty of room for the knees and feet, although the headroom was not really plentiful, probably at least in part because of the panoramic sunroof of our rental model. We found the leg support to be excellent and the seatback tilted just enough back to provide a comfortable posture on long trips.

Quasi-convertible cabin experience: Between the Tundra’s power rear window and the 1794 Edition’s panoramic sunroof, you can have a pretty unique pickup experience when all the windows are down and the sunroof is open. It feels similar to a convertible, but not quite at the open-air level of a Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler when the roof and doors have been removed. It definitely adds an element of fun and versatility to the Tundra.


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